Paris police arrest 154, use tear gas, as yellow vest protesters return to the streets

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French authorities have used tear gas on protesters in Paris as the yellow vest movement returned to Paris on Saturday.

Nearly two years ago, anger over fuel taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s pension changes brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets across France, sparking the start of the movement.

Mass riots at the height of the yellow vest-led unrest prompted authorities to ban protests in Paris’ central zone, including the Champs-Elysees.

The group’s last public demonstration was in March this year before France went into a coronavirus lockdown.

This weekend, several hundred demonstrators gathered at two squares in Paris for authorised marches to again protest against the Government.

One group set off without incident but the other march was delayed after police used tear gas to disperse protestors who left the designated route and set fire to waste bins and a car.

Police said they had made 154 arrests by 1:00pm (local time).

Woman wearing mask, holds rainbow umbrella, stands in front of riot police with shields
The yellow vest movement has been reinvigorated on the streets of Paris.(Reuters: Gonzalo Fuentes)

The renewed mobilisation of the yellow vests, named after motorists’ high-visibility jackets that became the symbol of the movement, comes as France is grappling with a resurgence in cases of the novel coronavirus.

The country’s daily cases of COVID-19 set a record high on Thursday at nearly 10,000, while the number of people being treated in hospital has increased steadily this month.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced plans to speed up testing and toughen measures in certain cities on Friday, but said the Government wanted to avoid another nationwide lockdown.

Police called on Saturday’s demonstrators to respect sanitary measures in Paris, among France’s coronavirus red zones, where it is compulsory to wear a face mask in the street.

Reuters

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